“Well,” he said, the smile still lingering in the corners of his mouth, “we are in one sense, my friend, a poverty-stricken people. We haven’t any institutions to speak of. All we can boast are certain outgrowths of our needs, which, for the most part, have taken care of themselves. We have, perhaps, an unwritten law, or general understanding, though no one to my knowledge has tried to state it. We all seem to know it when we meet it, and, as yet, have had no dispute about it. It may be said in a general way, however, as a matter of observation, that we are believers in liberty, in justice, in equality, in fraternity, in peace, progress, and in a state of happiness here on earth for one and all. What we mean by all this defines itself as we go along. It is a practical, working belief, we have. When we find an idea won’t work, we don’t decide against it; we let it rest; perhaps, later on, it will work all right. I don’t know as there is much more to say.” […]
It is only by anarchy and violence that a great accumulation of social wrongs can be removed. Anarchy is a good word. It means, “without a head.” Violence is the healing power of Nature applied to society. The violence which would follow from the abolishment of law, would be proportion to the number and magnitude of the wrongs that needed removal. There ought always to be anarchy, but there would be no violence where there were no wrongs. […]
It’s been several weeks since I proposed a new survey of anarchist opinion, in the spirit of those undertaken by anarchist in the early 20th century. A number of folks have agreed to work up answers to the initial questions and I’ll start things off by posting my own somewhat tentative responses. […]
Lewis Masquerier (1802–1888) Masquerier in “The Crisis” (1834) Masquerier in “The Free Enquirer” (1834) Masquerier in “The New Moral World” (1836–1841) Masquerier in the “Boston Investigator” (1835-1888) Aunt Elmina visits Lewis Masquerier (1884) Lewis Masquerier […]
This series of articles from The Worcester Palladium would be incorporated into Equality (1849) and Mutual Banking (1850), which would, in turn, become the basis for the subsequent editions of William Batchelder Greene’s Mutual Banking. The first did not actually appear in Equality, but became the “Introduction” to the later book, where it appeared with only very minimal changes. The other two installments did appear in Equality, with a few revisions in the second and some fairly significant revisions in the third. Returned to their original sequence, with their original conclusion restored, aspects of Greene’s craft become apparent, as the parallels between the sections are clearer and the wide breadth of material addressed appears considerably less random. […]
Anything that might have been said then about anarchism’s internal diversity and anarchists’ uneven knowledge almost certainly falls far short of the present reality. So it is worth asking whether it is once again time to make the attempt to consult among ourselves regarding some basic aspects of our present anarchist reality. My own sense is that the time is indeed again ripe, so I want to simply push forward and propose a first set of basic questions, which might be expanded or amended, then distributed and translated, so that the collected responses might serve as a resource. […]
At the center of this pamphlet is a disagreement about the use of the terms anarchy and anarchism—a topic that has grown in interest for me in recent years. W. H. Tillinghast accuses Tucker of “misusing words” when he uses the term anarchism to describe anarchist beliefs. The proper word, he claims, would be anarchy—or, more specifically, an-archy (from Proudhon’s occasional spelling, an-archie.) He would seem, from a modern perspective, to be a bit confused and Tucker’s response would be correct, if perhaps a bit excessive. It is easy to forget that in 1881 anarchism was still a “rare” word, whether in English or French. […]
Supposing that all man-made laws in the United States were abolished at once, disturbance and violence would take place only where they were needed. In parts of the country cursed with luxury, monopoly and rich men, society could be equalized and purified without violence. In neighbor hoods where the people were plain and none very rich, things would go on as they did before. If any undertook to commit crimes they would soon be straightened. Society would ferment and work itself clear like a barrel of new cider. Habitual rum-drinkers and opium-takers experience great distress when they undertake to leave off the habit. If they persevere in their abstinence they come right at last. Just so with law-drunken society. Within ten or fifteen years after the reign of natural law commenced, everything would be right. […]
Despite the potentially daunting number of research and publishing projects I have in progress, I really don’t get overwhelmed by the variety.
That’s not to say, of course, that I don’t get overwhelmed. I do, at fairly frequent intervals, but what is truly daunting about the project-load that I’ve accumulated over the last decade or so is the fact that it is all really just one big project.
Somehow — for my sins, as like as not — I’ve found myself committed to some deep explorations of just how the anarchist tradition developed in its earliest, formative years […]